2016 is already off to such an inspiring start. Everyone seems to be setting goals to do good, to make an impact, and to matter to someone or some people this year. It’s contagious in the most positive way and, while no one truly seems to know where it started, one might suspect that Barack Obama’s big announcement had something to do with it.

In collaboration with The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Highland Street Foundation, the President has declared January 2016 National Mentoring Month. “At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams,” President Obama said. He adds that “throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.”

It’s always been important to We-Care.com to inspire future generations. This is why we partnered with LeAp, a leading innovator in educational programs and services and one of the premiere arts-in-education programs in New York City. Since 1977, LeAp has helped over two million students reach their full potential academically, artistically, and socially. In the last six years, LeAp has received numerous federal grants to study the impact of using arts-based strategies to improve student performance on students’ literacy skills. The results have been extraordinary, as students in the programs continue to excel in subsequent years. LeAp’s programs promote cognitive, social, and emotional development in students of all ages and abilities.

We-Care.com decided to join forces with its users and set a goal to support LeAp’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs program. This meant that shopping online for everyday items would support a 15 lesson program for 13 schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. The program focused on students in grades 3 through 6 and all lessons aligned with the Core Curriculum and STEM initiatives. Students create apps, marketable games, inventions and small business ventures.

We-Care.com supports LeAp NYC
We-Care.com supports LeAp NYC

It’s a pretty incredible program run by teaching artists that work from beginning to end with the students. They help the students identify a need in their community, and how to address it. They learn how to identify a target audience, create a budget for product development, set a price point for their product or service, and develop a marketing plan– all geared towards instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in students. Amanda Reffsin, LeAp Program Coordinator said that “for a lot of these kids coming from a lower socio-economic status, it’s also just about instilling the idea that if they’re ambitious, their background doesn’t determine where their ideas can take them.”

If you’re interested in supporting LeAp’s mentoring programs with your everyday shopping (there are over 3000 stores participating!), download We-Care (free to download and free to use) and make every penny you spend make a difference. After all, in the words of our President, we really do “all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams.”